PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A month ago, cable channel HBO released Foster, a documentary about the harsh realities of the foster care system in Los Angeles. However, the problem is universal across the country, including in Arizona, as there are not enough foster families for the number of children in the system.
The Friend family have three children of their own, but saw this great need of other children needing homes. All of their children, biological, adopted and fostered, have now grown up, and most of them are doing great. Some are even attending college at ASU, and the couple has an important message for other families out there.
Vance and Laura Friend may be the friendliest parents one will meet. The family started out fostering children but saw a greater need with teenagers through the years.
"We would always go and talk to the kids, ask them about themselves, hobbies, and we would tell them about our family," said Vance. "Then, you would get a feel for if they would fit well in our family."
Treating their foster kids as one of their own, through the ups and downs.
"They get jobs on the job chart, consequences, they also get trips to Disneyland and to the beach," said Laura.
The Friends admit one of the teens they fostered ended up back on the streets and used drugs again, but most of them are doing well. With three kids of their own, their foster children have also become close with their biological kids.
"I am a lot better off being adopted here because they are a great family and I love them," said Sarah Friend.
"You hear horrible stories when you're talking to other foster kids as well, I'm so unbelievably lucky that I got the people that I got," said Christopher Friend. Like Sarah, Christopher is adopted.
"There was a lot of us in the house, but it was always worth it because it was like having extra brothers and sisters," said Jordan Friend. "There were times we fought, and there were times really special because you had extra siblings to lean on when you needed it."
Arizona recently enacted a law that would start the process of cutting parental rights if the mother has not attained sobriety within a year after her child is born. Like many states, resources in Arizona are stretched thin.
"More people need to do it because the need is so high," said Jordan.
The latest numbers of the State's Department of Child Safety show there are around 14,000 children in the foster care system. However, only about 9,000 foster home spaces available. The Friends family is really hoping to encourage more families to consider adopting or fostering teens.
Steps for becoming a foster parent